Maryam Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was recently promoted to the position of senior vice president and chief organiser of the party, which has not gone down well with the senior stalwarts, according to sources.
With this promotion, Maryam joins her father, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and uncle, current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as the party’s top three most influential figures.
Several prominent second-tier PML-N figures are reportedly unhappy with the selection, with some citing a lack of consultation as a primary reason for their displeasure.
Under cover of anonymity, a senior PML-N politician said, “this decision is undemocratic and is aimed at perpetuating the Sharifs’ political dynasty.” He said that the decision was made with little input from other top leaders outside the Sharif family.
Khawaja Asif, Tanvir Hussain, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Raja Zafarul Haq, and Raja Zafarul Haq are all senior PML-N figures who report to Maryam presently. Prior to the decision, there were more than a dozen vice presidents of the party in addition to Maryam, but only Shahid Khaqan Abbasi served as senior vice president.
Under cover of anonymity, another party leader expressed dismay at the decision, adding, “Only the Sharif family or those close to them have the first right to occupy every significant party or government position.”
More importantly, PM Shehbaz’s eldest son, Hamza Shehbaz, the current opposition leader in Punjab, was elected Chief Minister of Punjab with his father in the Prime Minister’s House last year.
A number of party insiders believe that Khawaja Saad Rafique or Malik Ahmad Khan would have made better chief minister of Punjab than the Sharif family’s choice of Hamza, who may only serve as CM for a short period of time (if at all).
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is another powerful Sharif family member of the party. He is also the President of the overseas branch of the PML-N.
However, Capt (R) Safdar, Nawaz’s son-in-law and Maryam’s husband, is the President of the PML-N’s Youth Wing.
A senior member of the PML-N has claimed that Maryam Safdar’s son Junaid Safdar is being promoted by the party’s media wing as the next great hope for the N-League. Junaid, however, has not entered the political arena just yet.
The senior PML-N leadership outside the Sharif family will even be subject to Junaid when he joins politics, according to a party insider, who added that the party’s internal politics have put democracy on the back burner.